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The Fog.  It rolls in from out of no where up over the hills and it fills up the city.  It’s cold and damp and I don’t like going out in it, but it does feel rather mystical when the day goes from being sunny and warm to the fog rolling past.

(btw: it’s also hard to photograph)

Golden Gate Park is full of wonderful things to discover.  The ones in the book are the white alligator at the California Academy of Sciences, the bison (which I wrote about over here), the great blue herons who nest near Stow Lake, and a long list of other natural wonders.

While I’ve been to the California Academy of Sciences a few times, I have yet to photograph the white alligator.  But I didn’t want to pay the $28 entrance fee just to take a picture.  But trust me when I tell you the Academy is pretty great.  If you want to go and don’t want to pay $28, go on Thursday nights for night life.  It’s only $12 to get in, and there are drinks and music and more fun.  It can be pretty crowded, though.

Back to the park.  I love the park.  Lakes, waterfalls, birds, gardens, people.

   

Sigh.  More murals.  These were fun since I just squeezed them in alongside checking out some of the other places around town.

The Beach Chalet murals, by Lucien Labaudt:

The Anton Refregier historical murals at the Rincon Annex Post Office.  These were apparently so incendiary that the artist had to paint out portions of them!

The Coit Tower murals by Ralph Stackpole and more than a dozen other painters.

The Women’s building is at 3543 18th Street.  It’s a beautiful mural (even though I’m getting a little tired of their overwhelming presence in the list of wonders.

These statues are on the top of 580 California Street.  Apparently, they are neo-classical forms of Muriel Castani’s “corporate goddesses”.

While most people have probably never looked up and noticed them, to me, they’re a landmark.  580 California Street is home to the Canadian Consulate, where I would go to write my exams for my distance education course.  It was also home to the Jejune Institute, which was part of the Nonchalance project, which very sadly has been shutdown, but was a very fun way we spent some of our weekends.

The best way to see them is to head over to the bridge at the edge of chinatown that leads to the chinese cultural center.  I grabbed a bubble tea and spent half an hour or so sitting here watching the city go by.  I’m going to miss this town.

This is the heart of Chinatown, which I love.  There are so many things around here that make me happy.  The bubble tea, the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company, all the random little stores, the kite store, the wok shop… the list goes on.  I never make it out here enough.

This part of Chinatown has the only American bar with a Chinese poet’s name in neon: the Li Po Lounge.  They have pretty descent drinks here too!

The 49 wonders map is right on this one.  Grant avenue is pretty great.

There are many beautiful libraries in San Francisco, but these, built between 1914 and 1921, are beautifully built with stunning arched windows.

I only went to 6 of the 7 in San Francisco, but they’re lovely.  And every time I went to one of the libraries I would go in and spend some time looking through the stacks and finding a good book to read.  I love the library.

The Richmond Branch:

The Mission Branch:

The Noe Valley Branch:

The Golden Gate Valley Branch (This is the one I missed).

The Sunset Branch: (this is where I opened my library card in the city!)

The Chinatown Branch:

The Presidio Branch:

Set just down the road from the De Young museum and the California Academy of Science is this small, stunning garden.

It was founded by the caretaker Makoto Hagiwara until World War II.

Peter and I got up early this morning and headed over to the gardens.  One of the great things about them is that if you show up before 10 am on Monday, Wednesday or Friday it’s free to get in.  So we headed over with some books and grabbed a seat in the tea-house.  We sat around enjoying the scenery, reading our books, drinking some Genmaicha and eating some mochi.  It was a perfect way to start the day.

After the crowds had settled down a bit (the problem with it being free in the morning is that it’s rather busy at first), we wandered around.  It was Peter’s first time to the gardens, so it was fun for me going with him and seeing his experience of it.  He also gave me some tips about some photo composition, so I started trying to take some pictures from different angles than I normally would.  What do you think?

This is a wonder that I will go see again and again.  If you haven’t been, you should definitely go.

Many people know the crookedest street in San Francisco to be Lombard Street in the Russian Hill neighbourhood.

However, the real crookedest street is in Potrero: Vermont between 20th St and 22nd St.  Also a one way street, Peter and I biked up it (in the wrong direction.  Bad form, I know, but I had already carried my bike up so many stairs that day!)

 

 

 

 

At the top, we found some of the most amazing community gardens I’ve ever seen.  Congratulations to the people who run this garden since they let people come in and check out the gardens, trusting them not to pick the flowers, fruit, veg, or kill the bees!

 

At 24th Street and Bryant is these beautiful, brightly coloured mini park.  I love it.  Even though the main feature is this giant snake god.  It was sculpted by Colette Crutcher.  In the corner of the park are a few tables to sit at and enjoy the day.  People were sitting and reading books, kids were clambering on Quetzalcoatl.  Theoretically, this is also a water park – in the middle of the coiled Serpent God are some water heads that would make for a fun hot summer’s day, but when we were there the water was turned off, so no water fun.

The giant snake is actually Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent god.  There were also these gorgeous mosaics with pieces of mirror.

 

 

 

I will definitely be back to this park with a good book a coffee and maybe a doughnut (Dynamo Donuts is right close by).